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Dublin: 17 °C Saturday 20 July, 2019
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Looking for the best slice of pizza in Dublin? Here's where to start, according to Italians

Food writer Ali Dunworth talks to those in the know – and shares her tips on where to find Dublin’s best pizza.

Image: Shutterstock

THERE ARE PLENTY of pizza options in Dublin. But when it comes to authentic Italian pizza, where does it best? And what does authentic even mean?

Well, who better to ask than the Italians themselves? It seems to me that the only thing fast about Italian pizza is the cooking time. Everything else adheres to their wonderful slow approach to food – from sourcing the best ingredients to the meticulous preparation methods. Toppings also seem to be much simpler, letting the ingredients sing.

Veruska Anconitano, a food and travel journalist from Italy living now based in Dublin agrees. “It’s not just quality but also how the different toppings fit into each other for me – and there are certain combination that really kill a pizza, even the potentially best one.”

Also, cooked tomato sauce seems to be a no-no on all Italian pizza. Veruska advises “If you use tomato, make sure you use fresh tomatoes crushed or blended and never add sugar.”

Here are four suggestions for places to start your search:

Osteria Lucio, Clanwilliam Terrace

There are many types of pizza in Italy, and often strict rules to adhere to. Manuela Spinelli, an Italian living in Dublin and secretary-general of chef community Euro-Toques, says there are “many different traditions” – but adds that it usually comes down to two types, pizza Neapolitan and pizza Romana.

“The main difference is pizza Neapolitan is normally smaller and the crust is high and soft. Whereas pizza Romana is thin and crunchy and doesn’t have the crust around it. And that is my favourite pizza”.

Manuela frequents Osteria Lucio near Grand Canal for her Romana fix. (“I like it thin and crunchy”.) This restaurant is the love child of Ross Lewis (Chapter One) and Italian chef Luciano Tona, and the closest you’ll get to Michelin starred pizza in Dublin – there are three stars between the two chefs.

She recommends the Apis with spicy salami. “I always order this.”

Forno 500°, Dame Street

Neopolitan is definitely a style we strive for more in Ireland – but most of the pizza we eat is far from the actual strict guidelines set out by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in Naples (the Neapolitan Pizza Association).

Forno 500° on Dame Street is the first restaurant in Ireland to be officially awarded the Certificate of True Authentic Neapolitan Pizza.

Their pizza chef PJ explains: “Neapolitan pizza is cooked in sixty seconds, ninety seconds maximum and the oven needs to be 500° hot. That’s real Neapolitan pizza. And also ingredients have to be from the Campania region, San Marzano tomatoes and Fior di Latte. The pizza has to be cooked with wood fire, not gas.”

No matter what style pizza, the flour is paramount and must be 00 flour. PJ tells me there are only a couple of Italian brands of 00 flour they can use at Forno 500°. Those, along with the 36-hour fermentation and hand-only stretching, mean that “when it’s cooked the pizza dough is not too crunchy – it has to be a bit soft for our pizza.”

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Another pizza

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Manifesto, Rathmines

“I know pizza is having a moment in Dublin,” Veruska Anconitano says, “but my recommendation is not to go with the trendy places. And most of all, check if in the place you want to go there are Italians.

“If you spot Italians – preferably from the south, but I know it’s hard to say – in a pizzeria in Dublin, do not hesitate. Because you can bring an Italian far from Italy but you will never separate an Italian from a good pizza!” And one place I know I always see Italians tucking into pizza is Manifesto in Rathmines. Chef Lucio Paduano has been churning out authentic Italian pizza here since 2009.

They’ve won gold medals at the Pizza World Championship and pride themselves on using the best of Irish and Italian ingredients. “The mortadella and pistachio pizza is to die for,” Veruska adds.

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Always I walk out of here with a big smile on my face. The guys here are so good to me even when arriving late and with no reservation! The real reason I would eat standing if needed, is the pizza! (Makes going to work on Saturdays a little easier.) Since I had all the pizzas from the lunch menu many times I would ask, "What's your favorite?" To whomever brings the menu over. This time I got the Sofia Maria with a twist: the chef switched up the creamy sauce base for a tomato one. Delicious! Have a wonderful weekend, guys! 🍕 . . . . . #italian #italianfood #pizza #firewood #prosciutto #mozzarella #rocket #nomnom #healintthyeating #foodstagram #instafoodgram #foodie #foodporn #foodgasm #foodphotography #foodlover #instafood #food #foodart #foodstyling #passionforfood #onthetable #buzzfeast #feedfeed #eeeeeats #byandreeamaria

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Caffe Amore, George’s Street

Sticking with Veruska advice to follow the Italians I had to mention Caffe Amore by Luli Montana. Step inside and you are instantly aware of the Italian chat all around you. Here they serve a rectangular shaped pizza with a big crust, served on boards.

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Pizza with a big family ❤️🍕 #together

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The owner Luli Montana says he offers an authentic taste of his hometown of Naples, serving traditional farmhouse food in the centre of Dublin. The pasta and pizza bases are made freshly on site, the ingredients and coffee come from the homeland and the excellent staff hail from all over Italy.

Many Italians eat and prefer their pizza ‘bianco’ – meaning white, or without tomato sauce – and there are always some great bianco pizzas here where olive oil, garlic, rosemary and fresh cheese feature a lot. These flavours seem to stand out all the more when there is no tomato sauce on the blistering fresh, pizza dough.

More: 7 of the best takeaway coffees in Dublin, according to people who really know coffee>

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Ali Dunworth

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